Monday, August 28, 2006

Memo to Little Stevie: You Don't Want to Hear This

Dear Stevie:

Maybe you should stop singing the praises of your buddy Bush for a little while, at least until this blows over. There's some news just out that suggests the U.S. isn't really the super nation as you would have Canadians believe. Seems it's actually pretty second rate.

The latest Luxemburg Income Study shows that, when it comes to poverty levels, America is the worst of the 16-wealthiest nations. The U.S. scores that honour for child poverty levels also. Hmmm.

Remember when you told those American right-wing wackos that, "Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it"? Guess what country had the lowest overall poverty rate? You're not going to like this - it was Finland.

The United States is still very much Number One - on defense spending. Maybe you can make something out of that.

The United States also spends more, per capita, for health care than any other nation. Trouble is, fully 16 per cent of Americans have no health insurance whatever. Plenty more have only partial insurance. America remains Number One for bankrutpcies triggered by medical expenses. Americans are well down the list (behind all those Northern European welfare states) on longevity and dead last on infant mortality. Where does all that funding go? Oh yeah, to the H.M.O.s that administer the 'for profit' industry. Oh dear, better drop that one.

As for productivity, the Holy Grail of Wild West conservatism, America was only fifth out of sixteen even though it holds Number One spot for most weeks of work. Guess who came first? Why it was those horrible, Surrender Monkeys, the French.

So maybe this would be a good time to turn to other issues, why not crime? Lets scare the hell out of the people and maybe this will all go away.

Ah Steve, it's me again.

You should know that the word is getting out. The old scam isn't working any more. All those NASCAR dads are beginning to realize they've been getting the shaft. Some think our own people are starting to see through all this.

These last five years have been great in the U.S., at least if you were already rich. These years have been dandy, what the investment bank UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) has called "the golden era of profitability." Gross domestic product and productivity have shot up. The rich just keep getting richer.

The not-so-rich? Well, they haven't done so well. Actually, despite the pace at which the economy has grown, the median hourly wage for Americans has fallen by 2 per cent since 2003. But look at the bright side, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of America's gross domestic product since they started keeping records in 1947.

Keeping the plebs quiet has been an endless struggle since the dawn of civilization. Roman emperors had to stage gigantic gladitorial bloodbaths in the forum to distract their people. Bush got by for years by kicking Muslim ass. Oh for those good old days. Now, of course, those Muslims are really kicking back, the American people are getting tired of it and the neo-cons don't have anything else to keep their minds off how much poorer they're getting in the Land of Prosperity.

The little people in America are getting tired of being left out and they're feeling the squeeze. According to the Economic Policy Institute (

- indebtedness of the average American household has increased 42 per cent over the past five years.
-level of debt as a percentage of after-tax income has never been higher, more than twice what it was 30-years ago.
-personal savings rate is at a negative, the first time since the Great Depression.
-family health costs have risen between 43-45 per cent from 2000 to 2003.
-employers are cutting back on health insurance coverage. The percent of people with employer-funded health insurance fell last year for the fourth consecutive year.

Sounds like all the fixins' for a revolution, eh Stevie? Maybe it's time not to praise Caesar but to bury him.

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